The learning environment at the Oakland Garden School (OGS) is free from frustration and pressure. Teachers utilize a child-focused emergent curriculum immersed in nature, and treat each child with affection, comfort, and understanding. While some content is determined by teachers, the interests of children guide the content of lessons and projects, thus personalities of all children are reflected in the curriculum. This empowering approach builds both self-esteem and a positive attitude toward learning.
Students at OGS will explore their environment through taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight. Quite simply, we believe the greater the range of sensory input, the greater the physiological activity and growth in the brain that will occur.
At OGS, children will spend more time in nature and in natural settings rather than being surrounded by pre-made artificial materials. Their surroundings are thoughtfully designed to stimulate environmental consciousness and creativity.
At OGS, children will experience organic gardening, cooking, and eating; as well as learn to recycle and compost during activities. The pre-school curriculum will include art, reading/literacy, discovery/science, and dramatic play. Children will also participate in a carpentry program, nature study, and in experiences that nurture love for animals. All these learning experiences will be shaped so as to stimulate a keen sensory awareness in children that will become the foundation for greater curiosity, versatility, learning, and joy.
Because people learn the most basic and essential values during their earliest years, we will partner with parents to foster these values in our children. We will actively provide opportunities to develop empathy, an attitude of collaboration and community, resourcefulness, and respect for difference. Most importantly, we will constantly model these traditional core values.
At OGS, we also create a curriculum that pays close attention to the many different ways in which children learn and to the diverse abilities and talents that they bring. We will individuate instruction and teach to the multiple types of intelligence to which all good educators must attend. Finally, because all children learn best through experiences and fun, all learning will be play-based and hands-on.
OGS follows the Oakland School District holiday schedule.
OGS provides balanced and nutritious, wholesome snacks throughout the day, including one item from bread/protein group and one item from fruit/vegetable group. The children also help prepare and serve their own snacks with a teacher’s help. For example, children bake bread and will brew fresh tea from the garden. Children will often enjoy dining al fresco in our picnic area, weather permitting. Families bring their children’s lunches, and we ask that they be well-balanced and peanut-free.